Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

"Largent tops four-way Whitman County race"

From today's Lewiston Tribune:
Whitman County Commission District 3 candidate and Colfax farmer Michael Largent appeared to be headed toward a primary victory Tuesday night over three Republican challengers.

Results Tuesday night from the mail-in voting had Largent comfortably ahead of fellow Republicans Jeannine Hinley Larkin, Jim White and Harmon Smith.

Largent had 607 votes, compared to 375 for White, 358 for Smith and 271 for Larkin.

But with some 1,000 still-uncounted ballots that came in the mail Tuesday, and probably hundreds more to be delivered over the next couple of days, the county auditor's office called the results preliminary.

Largent called them preliminary too.

"It's a nice lead, but it still seems a little preliminary to declare victory," he said. "I wouldn't even begin to gloat. I'm encouraged by the results, but I'm certainly not picking new paint for a commissioner's office."

Whatever the final results, Largent commended his fellow Republicans for running robust campaigns.

"I don't take any pleasure out of beating the other candidates in the field," he said, calling each one a personal friend.

The eventual victor will face Pullman Democrat Nathan Weller in the Nov. 7 general election. Weller was unopposed in the primary and had 560 votes.

Votes that arrive this week at the county auditor's office in Colfax will be counted as long as they are postmarked Sept. 19 or earlier. And other ballots from service centers in Pullman won't be added to vote totals until late this afternoon, according to the auditor's office.

Two ballot measures in the Lewiston Tribune's circulation area also appeared to be headed for easy passage Tuesday night. A proposition to finance the expansion and modernization of Whitman Hospital and Medical Center in Colfax was approved by 62 percent of voters, 1,012-613. The levy will increase property taxes to raise up to $13.6 million to add private patient rooms and expand emergency, radiology and other services.

And in Colton, an excess levy for collection next year of approximately $1.49 per $1,000 of assessed property value will raise $25,000 for general operations and improvement of the town streets and water system. That proposition had 73 percent voting in favor, 65-24.

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